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Unread 05-04-2022, 06:10 PM   #1
robbiekirk
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7 year old shower - grout white - stone floor

My shower is 7.5 years old. House was new construction in late 2014.
The first 7 or so years the shower floor was great. But in the last 6-9 months it has gotten white residue.
I scrubbed the floor and seemed to have scrubbed the grout off because the grout color faded, if that is possible.

How can I remove the white residue?
How would I know if the shower pan is defective (as i have seen mentioned on this forum), after 7 years of use with no issue?
Could I recolor or refresh the grout if indeed I did fade it or scrub it off.

Thank you!!
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Unread 05-04-2022, 09:32 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Welcome to the forum, Robin!

The initial batches of white is leading my thought process in two different directions. Knowing how the shower was built would affect my thoughts. But it’s usually best to start with the most simple solutions and work up. So, I’ll do that…

First, you probably didn’t remove color from the grout. It’s more likely you added color from whatever you were cleaning with. Speaking of which: what cleaner did you use and what method did you employ to clean?

Also, has anything in the water, your bathing products, or your cleaning routines changed since before this visual change occurred?


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Unread 05-04-2022, 09:34 PM   #3
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Do you have any details on how the shower was constructed? Do you have any pictures of the process?

What it looks to me is that you're getting efflorescence. That happens when excess moisture weeps out through the grout and carries with it any salts it dissolved in the process. WHen it evaporates, it leaves a white residue.

If the shower pan was not made with proper slope of the liner, then it gradually can build up in the pan, creating the ideal environment for this to happen.
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Unread 05-05-2022, 10:36 AM   #4
robbiekirk
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@Tool Guy - Kg

Thank you for responding.
I can't recall exactly what product I used but I can say it was either Comet or BKF first and then white vinegar at another time. The floor definitely dried between attempts.
I blanketed the area and then wiped/ scrubbed with a sponge and washed away with water.

Perhaps I changed shampoo or body wash but I don't believe the water has changed.

Thank you again for the help!!
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Unread 05-05-2022, 10:42 AM   #5
robbiekirk
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@jadnashua

Thank you for responding.

I don't have any pics of the construction but we are in a community of over 300 homes that were all built t the same time and I haven't heard of this problem from other homeowners. This contributes to why I think I made a mistake and tainted the grout color when it initially started to fade.

I recall now that I first thought it was residue from the hard water bc we get white residue on our pots and pans and glasses and shower doors. So I used white vinegar and then when that didn't do the trick I used comet or BKF.

Are there additional pics I could supply you?

Thanks again!!
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Unread 05-05-2022, 03:06 PM   #6
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There are some reasons why you might want an acid-based cleaner on tile, but it comes with consequences. The acid literally eats the cement away. It will dissolve mineral deposits if they're there, as well, but generally, you don't want to use an acid-based cleaner on tile, especially if the tile is something like marble, where it tends to etch and eat away that as well, changing the overall look from being polished to being a matt finish.

It is not uncommon for a shower installer to put the waterproof liner flat on the floor. If done that way, the shower doesn't necessarily leak, but it means that any moisture that gets underneath, and some will, will tend to accumulate and not drain out. Unless a surface membrane is used, on a conventional shower construction, the liner MUST be sloped to the drain AND the weepholes in the drain must be kept clear, so that moisture doesn't accumulate. Darker, saturated tile near the drain often is a symptom of an improperly built shower, or one where the weepholes got clogged up.
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Unread 05-05-2022, 03:39 PM   #7
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If the grout turned white immediately after you cleaned it, I'd think it might be the soap you used. But if it gradually turned white over the last 6-9 months then I'd think it might be efflorescence. I would try an acidic cleaner, maybe a small area with vinegar (then rinse with water) but I wouldn't use it as a daily cleaner.

Like Jim said, 99% of the showers we tear out don't have a preslope under under the pan liner and I can't ever remember weepholes being protected unless it was one of my old showers.

I usually protect my weepholes with little pieces of tile, Anything to keep the mud out.
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Unread 05-05-2022, 05:11 PM   #8
robbiekirk
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jadnashua

Thanks for the feedback.

What do you recommend I do or try? Is there another product to try to see if it is just a surface problem?

As a first pass especially, before I tear up the shower floor to see if that is the problem.

TY!
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Unread 05-05-2022, 05:16 PM   #9
robbiekirk
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@Davy

Is there a way I can inspect my drain area myself to see if there are weepholes?

(I am unfamiliar with this whole thing so pls forgive my ignorance)

TY.
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Unread 05-05-2022, 05:18 PM   #10
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Take the drain cover off and try to get a good picture of what it looks like beneath it down into the drain.

At least one of your pictures appears to show that the grout is wet over a lot of the area, especially closer to the drain. Wet areas imply poor moisture management.

Pebble shower floors may need more than the minimum 1/4" per foot top slope to keep water from pooling, but 1/4" per foot is all that's needed on the pan liner. If water temporarily pools, that could account for those darker areas.

You could use a level and a straightedge to see if there are any depressions in the pebble installation. It should be a fairly consistent slope to the drain from the edges. If there's any birdbaths, that can lead to uneven wetting of the pan.
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Unread 05-05-2022, 05:25 PM   #11
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It's going to be a major job if the problem is the lack of a preslope and flat liner that results of water collecting under the tiles.

If your shower has a traditional pan liner then it has weepholes if the correct drain was used, which probably was. The problem is installers not covering the weepholes with pebbles or tiles like in my picture. Without protecting the weepholes, cement will fill them not allowing the water to escape even if there is a preslope.

You won't be able to see the weepholes from looking down the drain. You would need to remove some of the pebbles around the drain along with some dry pack mud. You would need to take it slow and easy, being careful not to poke holes in the liner when doing this.
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